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The AnalogLovers interview with George Mann, inventor of the Full-Spectrum, Frequency Modulated Optical Analog Laserdisc Format.

I know am not alone in thinking an optical-read analog format is a great idea. I like the 12-inch size because of the superior artwork of cover design and to have an optical analog format with no surface noise, scratches and ticks would be a dream come true.

To help my readers better understand this new format; I have asked Mr. Mann to explain this new analog format. The first new analog format since 1978!

Teresa: Mr. Mann I understand your optical-read analog format is still in the design stages but can you describe for us in layman terms how the final version might work?

George Mann: Sure. A double-sided 12" optical laser disc will be used to store the full spectrum, frequency-modulated audio tracks. Then, a special laser will read those modulations much like a turntable styli reads a record.

T: Would it be sonically superior with the same program material to the best LPs?

GM: Yes, and without the drawbacks of a physical contact medium.

T: Laserdisc technology, using a transparent disc, was invented by David Paul Gregg in 1958 however was not a commercial product until 20 years later in 1978. How long ago was your optical read laser analog format invented?

GM: It was first conceptualized in December 1974.

T: When Phillips was developing the CD a spokesman stated "Philips didn't care whither the new format was analog or digital as long it was laser read." Was your format the analog version he was talking about?

GM: There were several competing formats at the time. Naturally, I thought mine was the most promising, and I am confident it will prove to be so.

T: As I understand it your Optical-read analog format is similar to AFM technique used in LaserDiscs but with full frequency response. Would it not be possible to record the actual waveform instead of a frequency modulation using the new Blue lasers instead of traditional red on a 12 inch disc similar in construction to LaserDisc and still have adequate playing time?

GM: Red lasers seem to have been the most successful up until now, but I am not an authority on the matter. I will say that a full spectrum, frequency-modulated source is capable of accurately representing an audio waveform.

T: New format development is a multi-million dollar venture, what can we as consumers do to get the right parties interested in your new analog optical-read format?

GM: It is up to the audiophile consumer and those involved in making hi-end analog recordings to take a serious, proactive interest in promoting a format
that would best suite our needs.

T: Mr. Mann can you describe some of your other inventions such as your 3-channel "true channel" playback array as well as your "boxless" ultra time/phase linear coincidental point source array monitor.

GM: My 3-channel, true channel playback array is a breakthrough in the way one reproduces a recording in ones home. It is designed to replicate the way we hear a performance in real life (mono+spacial & ambient info), and is compatible with all existing recordings.

My "boxless", ultra time/phase linear, coincidental point source array is designed to provide the most linear, transparent and realistic sound reproduction possible. It may prove to be a major step forward in loudspeaker design.

Real-world tests of these designs have shown "very" promising results!

T: Thanks Mr. Mann for an insightful interview and for your support of analog. I am sure I speak for my readers in wishing you great success with your analog optical-read laser format.

GM: And thank you for the gracious opportunity to showcase my designs. George Mann

  October 2006